About this Show

PBS News Hour

News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown. (2011) New. (CC) (Stereo)

NETWORK
PBS

DURATION
01:00:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
Annapolis, MD, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 78 (549 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Washington 14, Us 11, Boehner 11, U.s. 8, Brown 7, Nevada 7, Warner 6, Harry Reid 5, Port-au-prince 5, Karen Kasler 5, Greece 5, Jon Ralston 4, Imf 4, Oliver 3, Dr. Paul 3, Jay Carney 3, Christine Lagarde 3, John Boehner 3, America 3, Ohio 3,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  PBS    PBS News Hour    News/Business. Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff,  
   Jeffrey Brown.  (2011) New. (CC) (Stereo)  

    July 28, 2011
    6:00 - 7:00pm EDT  

6:00pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: the house moved toward a vote on a republican plan to cut the deficit. but democrats warned it would be dead on arrival in the senate. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight: kwame holman has the latest on the vote. and david chalian walks us through what's next for lawmakers, as the clock ticks closer to the august second deadline. >> woodruff: and we examine the mounting frustration of americans around the country with reporters in two key states: john ralston in nevada, home of senate majority leader harry reid and karen kasler in ohio where speaker john boehner comes from. >> brown: then, margaret warner interviews the new head of the international monetary fund,
6:01pm
christine legarde about the debt crisis here and in europe. >> the global economy is clearly highly dependent on the u.s. economy. so to have the lead economy uncertain about its debt ceiling is quite worrisome. >> woodruff: spencer michels updates the story of honey bees dying in large numbers for the last five years. >> a lot of research is taking place in the lab and in the field but the mystery of the disappearing bees remains. >> brown: ray suarez talks to paul farmer about his new book on haiti, still reeling from the massive earthquake and cholera epidemic. >> you can get stuff done in haiti, you work with haitian colleagues and public health authorities, you can get things done. but it does require just gutting it out, sticking with it, and not being discouraged. >> woodruff: plus, we explore the discovery of a new traveling companion for planet earth, an asteroid dancing back and forth in orbit around the sun. that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour."
6:02pm
major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> oil companies make huge profits. >> last year, chevron made a lot of money. >> where does it go? >> every penny and more went into bringing energy to the world. >> the economy is tough right now, everywhere. >> we pumped $21 million into local economies, into small businesses, communities, equipment, materials. >> that money could make a big difference to a lot of people. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting.
6:03pm
and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: it was decision day in the house of representatives today as speaker john boehner faced a key test of his leadership, four days before the u.s. government could face default. "newshour" congressional correspondent kwame holman begins our coverage. >> reporter: house republicans pushed forward with a vote today on the speaker's plan, even as the measure faced a white house veto threat and a firm wall of opposition in the democratic- controlled senate. boehner's plan would cut the deficit by $917 billion over the next decade by capping the budgets of federal agencies. the proposal would also raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion enough to allow the government to continue borrowing through the end of this year. speaking hours before the vote, boehner said the measure
6:04pm
deserved a fair hearing from democrats. >> listen, we're going to pass a responsible answer to this crisis. our solution, was put together by bipartisan leaders in congress. it's time for somebody in this town to say yes. >> reporter: at the white house this morning, press secretary jay carney said that was not going to happen. >> what i know about speaker's proposal in the house right now, is that there are already 55, 56, 57, 58 senators-- democrats and republicans-- who oppose it. it ain't going anywhere in the united states senate. we need to start doing things that can actually pass both houses and be signed into law. >> reporter: the senate's top democrat majority leader harry reid piled on. >> republicans cannot get the short-term band-aid they will vote on in the house today. it will not get one democratic vote in the senate. all 53 members of the senate democratic caucus wrote to the speaker last night to tell him they will not vote for it.
6:05pm
>> reporter: reid later announced the senate would take up boehner's plan immediately following the house vote and pledged again to defeat it. reid has put forward his own proposal that would cut the deficit by $2.2 trillion over the next decade, with about half the savings coming from the winding down of military operations in iraq and afghanistan. and, it would give the government an additional $2.7 trillion in borrowing authority to last through 2012. the top republican in the senate mitch mcconnell said democrats were playing with fire by opposing the boehner plan. >> it's inconceivable to me that they would actually block the only bill that could get through the house of representatives and prevent a default right now. it's inconceivable to me that they would do this for no other reason than to help the president avoid another debate before the election about the need for washington to get its fiscal house in order. >> reporter: those words were echoed by many house republicans who took to the floor this afternoon.
6:06pm
>> what needs to be done today-- if you owe debts, pay debts. but we also owe a debt to this generation struggling and the next that we can only repay through fiscal reform. >> reporter: house democrats, such as jim mcgovern of massachusetts, had a very different take on the plan. >> i keep expecting lion tamers and acrobats to appear on the house floor because this process under this republican leadership has become a complete circus. the underlying boehner plan should be called the republican default act. >> reporter: with the august second deadline closing in-- washington received another warning today-- this time from the heads of some of the country's largest financial institutions. in a letter urging action this week, they wrote: "the consequences of inaction for our economy, the already struggling job market, the financial circumstances of
6:07pm
american businesses and families, and for america's global economic leadership would be grave." the treasury department said today it would release details in the coming days about one of the immediate consequences of inaction, which payments will receive priority should congress fail to raise the debt ceiling by next tuesday. >> brown: here now for more: "newshour" political editor david chalian. david, we were expecting a vote around this time, east coast time, right, what seems to be the delay? >> the house republican leaders decided to postpone the vote. eric can tor, house majority leader says a vote will take place this eke. there is only one reason to most pone vets be, when they don't have the votes to pass their preferred legislation. speaker boehner is hunting tore 217 votes. here is the math of what speaker boehner is trying to do, he already knows he is not likely to get a single democratic vote.
6:08pm
so you are deal in a republican only universe. you have 240 republicans. he can only lose 23 of them as no votes in order to pass this bill. right now i think he might have a couple more that he needs to do some good old-fashioned arm twisting with and we foe at this hour those meetings are taking place off the house floor one-on-one with the speaker trying to make sure he gets them. >> brown: in the last couple of days this has become a real test for him personally. >> there is no doubt. this is his single biggest test since becoming speaker of the house. we talked all year long, jeff, about his challenge, right, in terms of being able to, without with the president, a democratic president and the democratic majority in the senate, but having these 87 freshman who came to washington on the wave of tea party support without do not want to be dealing-- dealing in anyway with the opposition. and so creates a real problem for speaker boehner. we're seeing that problem in stark relief tonight. >> brown: now look, projecting ahead t there is a vote, it goes to the
6:09pm
senate f it passes, right. >> right. >> brown: then what is this they made clear, we saw they made clear again no way. speaking of being off the table, it's off the table with the democratic senate. >> they continue to call it dead on arrival. what would likely happen and we're hearing from senator reid's office, he would likely, if the boehner preferred bill gets out of the house, take that up and actually table it. put it to the side because he knows it cannot pass. that's when a real final negotiation begins. how do they use that boehner plan that right now president obama said we veto that is not acceptable to the democrats and tweak it enough to be able to keep the republican support that sent it over to the senate and bring on the democrats in the senate in order to get it to the president's desk. >> brown: do you have a sense of where the none of the debate is at at this point? >> it's all centering around this notion of a trigger of a second debt limit increase vote. as you know and we discussed in the last several nights, speaker boehner's calls for
6:10pm
raise the debt limb by 900 million now and a second vote six months from now. that anathema. it down to the debate of using a second debt limit vote to trigger more deficit reduction. i have a feeling that somebody on a staring contest between the president and speaker, somebody has to blink. >> brown: we are watching, david chalian, thanks. >> sure >> woodruff: it has become increasingly clear that most of the american public is fed up with the federal government's inability to reach a compromise to avert default. a recent washington post/abc news poll found 80% of americans are either dissatisfied or angry with how washington works. at the white house briefing today, spokesman jay carney cited that negative reaction as a cause for confidence that a deal will be reached. >> we believe that the american people have made clear that they want a compromise. they are so frustrated by what they see as dysfunction here, as unnecessary fighting over issues
6:11pm
that could be and should be easily resolved. they want to see washington work on the problems that affect them directly. >> woodruff: meanwhile, over on capitol hill, the two main players working to get a bill to the president's desk are speaker of the house john boehner, and senate majority leader harry reid. they hail from ohio and nevada, respectively, two states also sure to be at the center of next year's presidential campaign. for some insight on how the battle in washington is playing out at home, we are joined by karen kasler, capital bureau chief for ohio public radio and television. and jon ralston, political columnist for the las vegas sun and host of the television show "face to face with jon ralston." >> woodruff: it's great to see you both again. an john ralston i'm going to start with you. is that description we heard from jay carney at the white house, the voters are frustrated with dysfunction, does that sound like what you're hearing in nevada? or what are you hearing?
6:12pm
>> yeah, judy, i think it is pretty of the name out-- same out here or worse than it is in the rest of the country. remember we have maybe the worst economy in the country, highest unemployment rate. we are the center of the foreclosure crisis in america. more than half the people who live here who are homeowners, their homes are underwater. so people up here are up set. they have been for some time. and yeah, the anti-washington sentiment which is kind of endemic to nevada in the first place is only accentuated by what is going on right now. >> woodruff: so what's going on right now, you're saying, playings into a feeling, a sense that's already there? >> it is here. and then we have this other cruise i believe, the first house election in the history of the state in which both candidates are talking about the debt ceiling. in fact one had an over the top ad showing a chinese invasion of capitol hill. neither of them want to talk about what party they are. but both want to talk about how washington is broken and how they're going to go back to washington to fix it.
6:13pm
sos that he out there in the atmosphere and makes it a bit worse. >> karen kasler from ohio, how would you describe the mood, the comments are you hearing from voters there? >> ohio-- ohio is a strangely divide state, the election of 2010 a republican sue familiaree swept the state, every elected officer who won was a republican. ohio congressional delegation went from 10 democrats and 8 republicans to 13 republicans and 5 democrats. but then recent polls have shown that maybe the republicans tide is waeferning. governor kasich elected last fall is a former congressman, and a conservative republican at that, his approval rating is down to 35% in the latest poll about two weeks ago. and also in that poll we found some interesting ideas about where ohioans feel about the budget not necessarily the federal budget but our own state budget and while ohioans said they support president barack obama over his closest republican opponent
6:14pm
mitt romney 45 to 41% here in ohio, when asked about their state budget voters 23 to 1 state they wanted to see-- 2 to 1, said they wanted to see the budget balanced with spending cuts only and not a combination. now in the end, in the same poll they responded that 50% didn't like the result of what happened. which was that the budget was balanced without any tax increases and only cuts, at least that is what we are told so it is interesting to try to get a sense of where ohioans are. there is still a democratic leaning in the state. the state is purple, not bright red but it hard to get an idea of exactly which solution they favor. >> woodruff: jon ralston it ts out for us the democratic and republican view in nevada. are they both frustrated with what is going on here for the same reason? how do you separate that out? >> well, it's interesting because we did just finish a similar budget crisis right here, judy. and the polling showed
6:15pm
people wanted it balance with spending cuts and tax increases. of course republicans wanted more spending cuts, democrats wanted more taxes. the state is not evenly split. they're about 60,000 more democrats than republicans here. the democrats, of course, are still supportive of harry reid but as people know from that amazing election in 2010, even though harry reid has very bad numbers here, he managed to defeat sharon andel. his numbers are in the not that bad neither are barack obama. both have 50%, maybe a little bit more that disapprove of their job performance so that is a problem for them. but the polling i have seen here, mostly private polling shows that people want a mix of spending cuts and taxes to solve this current problem. just as they did for the state problem. democrats, of course, and republicans split about the same way. >> woodruff: karen kasler,
6:16pm
picking up on that, do you get a sense in ohio on which side the public would blame if either the debt ceiling isn't reached, if it isn't raised and there is default, or conversely if it's passed and it's just not enough in the way of cuts? >> i don't know. because certainly ohioans are very concerned about the economy. i mean our jobless rate has been rising steadily. it was in a bad place for a while. but in the last month it went down or went up rather two ticks. so a lot of people are very concerned about the economy. we lost a lot of jobs, especially manufacturing jobs and foreclosure crisis hit ohio very hard and is still affecting ohio. so a lot are still very concerned about the economy and very curious about how the reforms that the republicans who are now in charge here have put into place. and then of course pairing that with whatever happens at the federal level. i think a lot of people are very concerned and you're hearing a lot of that. that all this will eventually trickle down to me here in ohio.
6:17pm
>> woodruff: jon ralston we know the tea party were a factor in elections in your state the last go-round. we see the tea party giving the republican leadership fits right now as the leadership tries to round up these votes. how do you see that republican tea party tension playing out there? >> well, the influence is still here, judy. even sharon andel is still floating around and many people may know she put out a statement defending the tea party hobbits after john mccain used that "the wall street journal" editorial on the senate floor. you have a republican congressman here who won on the wave of 2010 do a conference call with the media a couple of hours ago in which he made it sound as if he agonized that his support of the boehner bill, and came to i a decision. clearly the tea party influence is being felt there in that district which is one of the key swing districts in america, congressional district 3. of course only in nevada, we
6:18pm
don't even have our lines drawn yet so he doesn't know exactly who it is going to be in his district. but that influence is still here, felt within the republican party and a constant tug-of-war for some of these candidates to play to the moderates or play to the conservatives it, going on as i mentioned in thatspection election for the house to replace taken heller now in the senate, the guy run for the republican mark amaday was a moderate state senator and is now sounding like grover norquist invaded his soul and-- sole and completely changed. >> how much tension do you see between the mainstream republican party and the tea party folks? >> well, the tea party act vis-- activists were actively courted by the republican candidates who ended up flipping the congressional delegation balance from democratic to republican so there is definitely a tea party influence here. governor kasich as i mentioned before, a congressman who was involved in a budget show down back
6:19pm
in '97 with president bill clinton has been speaking both to tea party activists but also republicans and some of the statements he has been making, talking about how politicians in washington need to suck it up. and get back to leadership and get this done. but he's also saying things like he doesn't like the idea and speaker bairner's plan of a commission to find saves but then he says we support speaker boehner's proposal so there is an interesting die k09-- dichotomy going on as he looks at his own republican economy and tries to bring together both sides. the facs are there and he recognized it and other folks have recognized it as well. >> woodruff: it sounds like both nevada and ohio have your own issues to deal with at the same time you watch what going on in washington. thank you both. jon ralston, karen kasler. >> thanks, judd eye. >> brown: still to come on the "newshour": i.m.f. head christine lagarde; the mystery of disappearing bees; haiti, 18 months after the earthquake and the asteroid locked in earth's orbit.
6:20pm
but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: on wall street, stocks faded in the afternoon to end mostly lower, in the run-up to the vote on the debt ceiling. the dow jones industrial average lost 62 points to close at 12,240. the nasdaq rose more than a point to close at 2,766. a muslim american soldier has admitted to planning an attack on fort hood in texas. private first class naser abdo went absent without leave in early july from his base in fort campbell, kentucky. he was arrested yesterday at his motel near fort hood-- the army post where 13 people were killed in a shooting rampage in 2009. an army email alert said abdo had ammunition, weapons and a bomb inside a backpack and admitted under questioning to planning an attack on the army base. a team of bombers in afghanistan orchestrated a surprise attack on a government compound today, killing 19 people. two suicide attackers blew up vehicles packed with explosives in tarin kot-- the capital of southern uruzgan province. the bombings set off hours of
6:21pm
fighting between insurgents and security forces. the taliban claimed responsibility for it all. ten children were among the dead, and so was a bbc journalist. it is the latest uptick in violence in the south following the killing of afghan president hamid karzai's half-brother on july 12. a twin bombing at a bank in northern iraq today killed a dozen people. a suicide bomber and car blast rocked the city of tikrit, as iraqi policemen and security forces were picking up their paychecks. thick smoke could be seen billowing from the scene of the explosions. more than 30 people were wounded. it's the fourth major attack on the city so far this year. the head of the rebel armed forces in libya and two of his aides were killed today. the head of the national transitional council announced the deaths and said abdel fattah younis was killed by gunmen while on his way to questioning over a military matter. younnis was moammar qaddafi's interior minister before defecting early in the libyan uprising. there was heavy fighting in somalia's capital today, with a
6:22pm
half dozen people killed. the african union launched a new operation to protect famine relief efforts from attacks by the militant group al-shabab. it is linked to al-qaeda. a somali military commander said 40 people were injured, but all from al shabab. >> ( translated ): this morning we launched an offensive on different positions that al- shabab used to control and we forcefully captured people from all those areas. the casualties are on their side. they are now on the brink of collapse. >> sreenivasan: the world food program has been unable to deliver humanitarian aid to more than two million people in portions of southern somalia that are under militant control. the death toll from floods and landslides in south korea grew to at least 57 today. massive rainfall since tuesday has disrupted the capital city of seoul-- home to 10 million people. clean-up crews were out in force to pick up the mud and debris from the landslides that swept away entire buildings. more rain was forecast for tomorrow. norway's intelligence chief said today the man who confessed to
6:23pm
killing 76 people in a bombing and shooting spree acted alone. she told the associated press anders behring breivik wasn't part of a larger network as he claims. police officials will interrogate breivik again tomorrow. meanwhile, the search for more victims in the waters around utoya island where 68 people were gunned down continued. but on the island itself, police said the search had been called off. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: and to our interview with the new head of the international monetary fund about the u.s. debt battle and its potential impact around the globe. margaret warner begins with some background. >> warner: on may 14, the worlds of global finance and one of its stewards, the international monetary fund, were rocked by the arrest of i.m.f. managing director dominique strauss-kahn on sexual assault charges in new york city. days later he resigned the post he'd held for four years, touching off a battle to replace
6:24pm
him. the victor elected by i.m.f. members on june 28, french finance minister christine lagarde. she's the first woman to head the i.m.f., for 65 years a pillar of international development and financial stability. she takes the helm as that stability is sorely threatened. three european countries-- greece, portugal and ireland are mired in sovereign debt crises; the i.m.f. has already contributed to bailouts of all three. two larger, debt-laden european economies spain and italy are struggling to avoid needing bailouts too. late last week, the euro-zone's leaders approved a second, $157 billion rescue package for greece which, for the first time, forced private investors in greek debt to accept losses. added to that volatile mix: a political crisis in washington that threatens to devalue u.s. treasury debt, the backbone of
6:25pm
world finance. i sat down with christine lagarde this afternoon, three weeks into her tenure, at the imf's washington headquarters. >>adame managing directoring thank you so much for joining us. >> pie pleasure. >> warner: as we sit here right now the crisis other than the u.s. debt limit, the possibility of default still isn't resolved. you've talked about a possible spillover. what are the consequences globally to the global financial system if five days from now there still isn't a deal? >> well, you're right that there is quite a lot of concern out there. the global economy is clearly highly dependent on the u.s. economy because the u.s. economy is the first in the world and it's a major power in many respects. so to haved lead economy-- to have the lead economy uncertain about its debt ceiling is quite worrisome. and if you were to take it
6:26pm
further, clearly there would be consequences in the rest of the world, not just in the united states. for example, the dollar has always enjoyed what the former french president of many years ago called the exorbitant privilege of the dollar. because it was the currency, the reserve currency that most central banks had. well, clearly there was a dent in this exor-- exorbitant privilege and the confidence that most people have towards the dollar. it would probably entail a decline of the dollar relative to other currencies. and probably doubts in the mind of those people who reserve currencies as to whether the dollar is effectively the ultimate and prime currency of reserve. >> warner: but do you think could trigger the sort of chain reaction that say the lehman brothers collapse did in o 8ee? is it that potentially dire?
6:27pm
>> it's difficult to predict. and if it was to happen, because there are so many-- that are invested in u.s. treasury bonds, that it would be very dramatic, i would say. so pie dear hope is that political leaders will have the courage and the humility as well to overcome political sensitivity and concerns and doctrines which are perfectly legitimate for the sake of the entire country and for the sake of the global economy. >> so is that what is missing here, as a european coming here to washington you've dealt with the previous administrations. do you think that's what is lacking here is political courage? >> political courage is required. and i'm not suggesting that it is lacking but it has to be demonstrated in moments of crisis. i was last week in brussels.
6:28pm
and there was a moment of courage and solidarity amongst the european leaders, members of the euros. it comes in times of crisis and when it does it's quite extraordinary. >> warner: as long as people finally feel the crisis. >> crisises are very, very good change agents and change drivers, actually. >> warner: even if it gives everyone heart attacks. >> well, you have to change just before there is the heart attack. >> warner: now in europe as you said there was this rescue plan for greece. how confident are you that that is going to be enough to stem the kind of con stage-- contagion that we are all fearful of from one european country to another in terms of debt. >> what happened on thursday was a collective determination to number one do what it takes to rescue greece and to rescue it for the long term. there was this really
6:29pm
striking commitment made by the political leaders that they would continue to support the country and any country under a program until that country regained access to market provided that that country would perform and deliver under the program. that's a rare commitment. one that was sort of implied but one that they actually all signed up to. which is really very important. the second thing they did which was also critical was to actually agree that this european financial stability fund that was put together a year ago would be flexible and could be used to buy on the secondary market. in case a country and that goes to your contagion point, in case a country is at risk and needs financial support without really being a country in a situation of being bailed out. so i think those two components added to which they also agreed that the private sector would have to
6:30pm
contribute is really game changer for europe if they implement. >> warner: if they implement. but right now the markets don't seem entirely convinced. i mean spanish and italian bonds yields are going up because the cost of insurancing them is going up. >> markets are always very sensitive to uncertainty. and i think what we are seeing at the moment is this question mark about implementation which is why i think it is so critically important not just for greece but for the euro member countries to actually deliver on the commitment that the political leaders signed up to on thursday. >> warner: do you think that the euro zone itself is at stake here? that this kind of commitment which is really kind of a very weak economy, nowhere in the league of germany and france, that in this kind of global financial situation it really may be difficult
6:31pm
if not impossible to sustain? >> you're right, which is why it is so important for them to actually say and right and sign up to. we will sustain, we will support, we will be there. it's also a demonstration that the large euro area members such as germany, such as france, for instance, such as the netherlands are going to back up the rest of the zone and that they want to stand by the construction. this extraordinary construction of the monetary's own compose of 17 member states. >> whether in the streets of europe with the protests you've had or here in congress there seems to be a growing public and political backlash to having governments or taxpayer funded institutions like the imf bailing out essentially ultimately private investors. how concerned are you that this kind of public discontent could really unravel the consensus that's underpinned whether it is the eu or the u.s. or the
6:32pm
imf for six decades. >> everybody needs to be a party to that. and clearly the people have to see that past the period of fiscal consolidation that other people call austerity, there will be a path for growth. there will be a path for jobs. it's about making sure that the economic players will be able to create, will be able to employ, will be able to invest in research and development. that's what we aim at. >> and so as you take this job, you think about the imf, for much of the postwar in the past decade, the three big economies that have supported it, u.s., europe and japan are all in serious trouble. do you think the collectively there is enough political will but also financial wherewithal to actually whether this without slipping back into further global recession? within we certainly don't want a global recession.
6:33pm
that's for sure. it's, you know, it's a turn of the will. we had the latin american countries in difficulty in the '80s. we had the asian crisis in the 90s. at the moment clearly the financial crisis that started in 2-- late 2008 we all remember has had establish-- sustainable effects and consequences in all economies but particularly the advanced economies because of the financial contagion. so lots of jobs have been lost. but countries are in the process of rebuilding. it is going to take time, no doubt about it. and we need to be collectively concerned that we are aiming in the right direction and making sure that the less privileged, the most difficulties i'm thinking of countries like those in the horn of africa at the moment, for instance, continue to have the right level of support so it's a balancing act for me here at the imf as well. making sure that we focus on
6:34pm
stability. but that we pay attention to those that are most in need. >> madame managing director, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> brown: next, it's been five years since honey-bees started dying in large numbers across the country. scientists are still trying to figure out why and what they can do about it. "newshour" correspondent spencer michels has an update. >> reporter: in a field of sunflowers in california's central valley, it's obvious not all the bees have disappeared. despite five years of mysterious trouble in american honey bee hives and devastating die-offs that continue to happen, bees are still pollinating 130 kinds of fruits and flowers worth $15 billion. what agriculture and scientists continue to fear is that what they call colony collapse disorder or c.c.d. will remain
6:35pm
unchecked, unsolved and destructive. california beekeeper randy oliver-- still in business-- had it happen to his hives. >> with colony collapse, it's very sudden. where you see the colony just kind of teetering still full of bees, then boom, overnight, all the bees are gone. >> reporter: the die-off and the publicity it generated has spurred a flurry of activity. here at the university of california at davis, the bee research program has been revived. these scientists are trying to find ways to improve health of the bees, partly by changing what they eat, partly by selective breeding of healthier, disease-resistant bees. a new garden of bee-friendly plants has been planted at davis courtesy of an ice cream manufacturer, whose business depends on fruits pollinated by honey bees, and who is funding research. eric mussen has been the university's extension apiculturist throughout the colony collapse crisis.
6:36pm
>> we have found small scale >> reporter: mussen is frustrated that the disease is still rampant, though not for all beekeepers. >> we really don't seem to have accomplished a whole lot because we're still losing on average of approximately 30% or more of our colonies each year. and that's higher than it used to be. only 25% of the beekeepers seem to have this c.c.d. problem, over and over and over. the other 75% have their fingers crossed and say, "i don't know what this is, but it's not happening to me." >> reporter: in joe derisi's university of california san francisco lab scientists are now using the tools they developed for studying human pathogens, to hunt for the culprit in colony collapse disorder. >> one of the frustrating things with c.c.d. is it doesn't look like there's any one single agent or culprit. imagine if you had the cold, and you got the flu on top of a cold. well, that might be the case with the honeybees. you have a weird fungus and a virus, and it causes a drop in the health of a colony to the point where the colony can't maintain itself. >> reporter: scientists working with derisi essentially are
6:37pm
starting from scratch. using a modified vacuum cleaner, they collect healthy bees from nearby hives to try to figure out what pathogens normal bees contain, so they can recognize abnormal when it occurs. michelle flennegin is a post-doc microbiologist. >> honey bee colonies are exposed to a number of viruses and pathogens over the course of the year. so what this study provides us with is a normal colony baseline, of the ebb and flow of the microbes associated with that colony throughout the course of the year. >> reporter: in the lab, flennegin's colleague, charles runckel, smashed up the dead bees, in order to extract d.n.a. or rna and analyze what viruses or bacteria are present. as part of their study, they followed and got samples from a huge commercial bee keeping operation as it traveled across the country pollinating crops. their work has already paid off.
6:38pm
>> we found four new viruses in this study, and one of them was so frequent, there was more of that virus present than every other virus that we've know about put together. >> reporter: finding such normal viruses makes finding the causes of c.c.d. more likely. >> once you know each of these viruses and you know their genetic makeup, you can look for them very easily. we can screen thousands of but finding them in the first place takes years, and a lot of effort, and so that's what we did here, the first step. >> reporter: still, the progress has been slow since scientists are starting with little knowledge of bees and bee diseases. >> in comparison to what we know about human biology, and infectious diseases that affect all of us, we know almost nothing about honeybees, for which we depend so much. this is what i think c.c.d. has really done, is brought new science new interest and new researchers into the game.
6:39pm
>> reporter: but that hasn't yet helped beekeepers trying to keep their hives alive. in grass valley, california, randy oliver rents out a thousand hives to make his living. he's experienced die-offs before, but this one has been more persistent. when his colonies collapsed, he started experimenting and reading the scientific literature. he agrees with derisi that several factors are at play in this perfect storm that weakens the bees' immune system. >> bees are stressed by the cold. they're a tropical insect. the second one is any kind of pathogens: parasites, viruses, bacteria. the next one is nutrition, and that's critical for the bees to get good nutrition, or they can't fight the pathogens and the last one is pesticides. >> reporter: oliver and others have started splitting their hives every year, taking half the bees out and starting a new hive. he calls it "forever young", it seems to keep the bees healthy.
6:40pm
>> the simple act of splitting gives the bees a fresh start. and in nature that's what they do. bees reproduce frequently, they swarm every spring and they give themselves fresh starts. and that's what beekeepers are tending to do, too. >> reporter: in the field, oliver is running controlled tests of a natural anti-viral product using 72 hives, one of several remedies promoted by private industry. at his home, oliver examines bee tissue under the microscope, for pathogens to see what conditions, what foods may be associated with c.c.d. it's a continual fight, he says- - a fight that's easy to lose, given the nature of bees and pathogens. >> you have to be running all the time to stay in place. that's because the pathogens never stop evolving, the viruses evolve constantly, the fungi evolve constantly. the parasitic mite is evolving constantly. if the bees are not constantly evolving, the parasites will overwhelm them. >> reporter: so far the consensus is that most beekeepers are avoiding colony
6:41pm
collapse disorder though careful management of their bees. but the disease, whatever it is, has not gone away, and scientists ruefully admit they don't yet know what causes c.c.d., or how to cure it. >> woodruff: we turn now to haiti, 18 months after the massive and devastating earthquake. in a book interview, ray suarez talks again with a physician at the center of that country's difficult rebuilding. is dr. paul farmer cofounded partners in health in the central haitian town nearly 25 years ago. its mission to provide free essential medical care to a vastly underserved population. that need exploded january 12th, 2010, with the earthquake that leveled large swathes of haiti,
6:42pm
upending its society, killing 200,000 and leaving nearly two million homeless and maiming thousands. the calamities did not stop there. political upheaval followed and in an almost bib i will klee cruel twist an outbreak of cholera began last fall that has killed nearly 5,000. now 18 months after the quake the work of rebuilding and healing grinds forward, long after the spotlight has shifted elsewhere. but farmer, appointed u.n. deputy special envoy to haiti in 2009 and his colleagues will be there for the long and arduous journey back. and dr. paul farmer is the author of haiti after the earthquake. and he joins us now. dr. farmer, welcome back to the program. i would like to begin our conversation with an excerpt of an interview you and i did near the ruined airport in port-au-prince as you were about to take off for a conference in montreal to ask the government of the
6:43pm
world to get involve mad rebuilding haiti. i asked you how you were going to do it. and here is what you had to say. >> well, you have to do it and say let's plan this out. this is not something that's going to be over in two or three weeks or two or three months this is rebuilding, you know, you've been all the places i've been. rebuilding this is going to take many, many years. >> how do you keep the world engaged and understanding that this is a long-term process? >> well, i don't know but we're all going it to try. especially those of us who have been engaged in haiti for a long time. we're going to have to be very explicit that transient interest in this problem is not only unhelpful but very destructive. >> suarez: thats what the goal you set a year and a half ago. has haiti managed to keep the world's attention? >> well, i think that there are different ways of keeping the world's attention. some of them constructive and some less so i think part of what we feared would happen is there would be a transient interest in reconstruction, that is
6:44pm
happened. there are also some people who and institutions who have been committed and are still involved in rebuilding. but this attention-deficit disorder that we see on a global level is not been good for haiti. >> well, a crisis is something that gets people energized. gets them pouring in and helping out. eventually they go home but have you managed to hold on to some people for the long haul? >> i think we have. i think there have been new people who have gotten involved, who have stayed involved. what we feared back in january right after the quake, that there would be some groups that would come in and out and part of what has been called the crisis caravan, that all came to pass. they've come in. they're gone. but there's some new players. i just am thinking about some of those who have been involved in medical
6:45pm
education and helping to rebuild infrastructure for medical education. we've got some new partners and universities, physician groups, nursing groups that are planning to stick with us, i think, over the long haul. >> when i was back in port-au-prince over the summer i saw blockages everywhere. there were a lot of smart people, energetic people on the ground but there were workers without equipment, equipment without workers, plants were rebuilding in places that hadn't been cleared yet. and no plans to rebuild in places that had been cleared. sort of impediments, things that had to be busted through yet somehow couldn't. are things getting better? >> well, i mean we have as unusual some very positive experience and some very negative experience. on the positive side one of the projects that we were, i think i spoke to you about right after the quake, the idea of building a medical centre outside of port-au-prince that would help restore training and
6:46pm
service capacity for medical professional. and that's part of my job to think about medicine. we have actually advanced that project with the public authorities, ministry of health, and some of the leading medical educators in haiti. that project in central haiti is a giant hospital, is guey to come on-line or starts to come on-line just two years after the quake. so i think you know, we can say look, you can get stuff done in haighti. you work with haitian colleagues. and public health authorities. you can get things done. but it does require as you say just gutting it out. sticking with it and not being discouraged. that's another thing, there are so many impediments to work that to effective work that people get discouraged and quit too early or for the wrong reasons but there are also people who stick with it and a lot of my haitian colleagues, some of whom you've met are still at it. they're an inspiration to me.
6:47pm
on the negative side there are lots of projects that are much discussed but really haven't been started. implementation delivery is as predicted or as predicted different from commitment pledges, promises. >> over the last year and a half you've expressed a desire to see port-au-prince rebuilt in a different way so that it wouldn't be the vulnerable place that it was on january 12th. but the delays also make people take the situation into their own hands and rebuild in an informal way. has some steps been taken toward building a different kind of port-au-prince, one that wouldn't kill its own citizens when the earth starts to shake again as it will some day? >> i think some steps have been made and i am not as familiar as i should be with what is going on in terms of urban reconstruction. steps have been made, for example, new building codes promulgated, commitments have been made for financing,
6:48pm
safer construction. some construction actually has happened in port-au-prince, some buildings have been rebuilt or raised and are building rebuilt now. in terms of the urban planning that a lot of people dreamed of that is a safer city, a cities that's less congested that has proper water systems and security, that hasn't come to pass yet. and i think part of what also needs to happen is, i mean how do you, you said it very well. people when they don't have help rebuilding their homes, they're going to try and do it themselves. and i think a lot of those who have moved out of the tented cities that hit maybe 1.3 million and are now down to 650,000 people, a lot of those people are, unfortunately, housed in the same kind of conditions that they were before the quake so haiti has had a lot of
6:49pm
difficulties after the quake, political unrest, cholera epidemic and then a lack of follow-through from some of the big development agencies and those who made pledges. so it's going to, as i said in january, it's going to be a real long haul, long row to hoe. >> suarez: the book is haiti after the earthquake. the author dr. paul farmer. good to talk to you again. >> thank you, ray. good to be in touch. >> brown: finally tonight, a dance partner for planet earth. it's called a trojan asteroid-- one that shares a planet's orbit, circling around the sun. many such asteroids have been found near other planets. now, as reported in the journal, "nature"-- the first has been discovered near the earth. we get an explanation from mike brown, a planetary astronomer at the california institute of technology. so tell us a bit more about a trojan asteroid. in this case it's held in
6:50pm
the gravitational pull between the earth and the sun? >> that's right. it's not between the earth and the sun, it's actually in the same orbit as the earth so it goes around the sun in 1 year just like the earth goes around the sun in 1 year. and on average it's about the same distance from the sun as the earth is. so we're really just following it along in its orbit around the sun. >> if it's relatively close, and how close is it exactly, why is it making so long to see? >> it's close and it's so close that on average we overtake its position about every two months. so in two months from now we will be where it is right now. the reason it takes so long to see, the reason it has been so long to find one of these things is because most of the time when we're looking for asteroids or anything else in the solar system, we look out beyond the earth. we look into the night sky. to find these things that are actually in the same orbit of the earth you really have to look in the very early morning or very,
6:51pm
very early evening as the sky is really quite bright so no one has found these things up until now. >> brown: and do we know where it came from? how it got there? >> that's actually the really interesting question. it's only been watched for a little bit of time right now. and it's on the very intricate dance in front of the earth. and so figuring out how long it's been there or exactly where it's going to go is a difficult thing. what we foe right now is it has been in its position for at least 10,000 years. 10,000 years, though, is a really, really short amount of time for the solar system. so we don't know if it's been there forever, 4.5 billion years since the solar system formed or if it is really just essentially fell into place yesterday. >> brown: you referred to it as a dance. we had a graphic up and maybe we will run it again, this animation. it's not really running alongside the earth, it's constantly moving as well. >> yeah, it's on average it stays 60 degrees in front of the earth as it goes. but it doesn't really stay
6:52pm
in that spot. it goes ahead and then comes back behind and then keeps circling around. and so it's in this position where it's a stable orbit where it can stay in that place for a long time. but because of the earth and because of the sun it keps on moving it around. >> brown: now what is the importance of asteroids, of finding and studying them. what do they tell us sm there's even been talk about a nasa mission we could go, get to one, right? >> right so there are two ways to think of asteroids at least the way i think of them. they are sort of technologically interesting and sort of social logically interesting in that they might be the next place that we go to in manned space flights. there's sort of a natural steppingstone to go to the next even further destination like mars, perhaps. they're also that we care a lot about because they are continuously pummeling into the earth's atmosphere and there is always that chance that one of them might have our name on it and be coming our way. so the more we foe about them, the better we are
6:53pm
prepared to deal with that possibility. for me, though, i think they're interesting, much more because of their scientific interest. they really are these windows into the very earliest solar system. they are materials left over from when the sun and the earth and the planets formed. and they've been sitting around in space for that past 4.5 billion years. and if we can find them, study them and figure out where they are and if we can study them we have learned a lot about our own origin. >> brown: briefly since you raised it we better reassure people because that fear of asteroids coming to earth, this bun is sort of stuck in place, right, because so that is not likely? >> this is a really good one to have found. because even though it has the same orbit as us, it can never come any closer to us than a certain distance because it's stuck by the-- never, okay, maybe in 20,000 years, we don't know what will happen thenment but for the foreseeable future it's going to be staying there. we are going to be watching it. it will be a really fun dance to watch. >> brown: okay, reassuring
6:54pm
in most of our tile frames. mike brown, thank you very much. >> my pleasure. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: republicans postponed an they called a delay this evening. reportedly to round up enough votes. democrats warn the measure if it reaches the senate will be dead on arrival. and a muss and a muslim american soldier who went awol was arrested in texas, and has admitted to police he was planning an attack on fort hood. on our website, there are stories about science, economics and more. hari sreenivasan explains. >> sreenivasan: spencer blogs about the disappearing bees and on the debt crisis. what's the treasury's emergency plan if the deadline passes without a deal? our national affairs beat looks at some scenarios. plus we talk to two reporters from the harvest public media project about how this summer's heat wave affects farmers in kansas, texas, oklahoma and
6:55pm
elsewhere. it's part of our "newshour connect" series. all that and more is on our web site: newshour.pbs.org. judy? >> woodruff: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and michael gerson, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
6:56pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
6:57pm
6:58pm
6:59pm